Camden care homes create ‘pods’ in their gardens to help family visit relatives
PUBLISHED: 09:30 20 November 2020
Two Camden care homes are constructing “pods” in their gardens as they do all they can to help families visit loved ones as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
And families who have needed to move relatives into the homes – Rathmore House and Compton Lodge, both in Swiss Cottage – during the pandemic have thanked the Central and Cecil Housing Trust which runs them for helping with the transition, even amid lockdowns and unprecedented difficulties for care homes.
Hampstead woman Lucy Clark spoke of how difficult it had been to decide to move her uncle, Nigel Service, into Rathmore House where her mum already lives.
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Lucy said she had been impressed by the way staff had managed potential Covid-19 outbreaks.
“I know there have been some well-documented care home ‘horror stories’ during Covid-19, and of course those need to be talked about. But no credit has been given to the hundreds of homes which have looked after residents really well over the pandemic,” she said.
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“That hasn’t been properly celebrated.” The carers are incredible people. It’s comforting for me to know that my uncle is now there with my mum, in a controlled and safe environment.”
Vivienne, 82, is another new resident, in her case at Compton Lodge – which is where the first “pods” are being built to make things easier for visitors.
Her husband, who did not want his name used, said: “A couple of weeks before the first lockdown, we decided we had to stop the carer and all other outside contact to protect Vivienne, given the spread of the virus. The following months of isolation coincided with Vivienne’s more dramatic deterioration, such that the full responsibility for her care, day and night, was becoming difficult.”
He explained that as his wife’s condition worsened, it became clear a care home was the only option – and she moved into Compton Lodge in September.
Vivienne’s husband said staff had been wonderful and helped her to settle in.
“We were worried about the safety of care homes during the pandemic, but we’ve been put at ease by the connection between Vivienne and the staff,” he added.
With visits confined to outdoors at care homes, the pods being created at Rathmore House and Compton Lodge are expected to be complete in the next few weeks – and health secretary Matt Hancock has also announced he is hoping relatives will be able to enter care homes, after a Covid test, by the end of the year.
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